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Joey’s Story

Joey arrived in June of 2004 and BrightHaven days were changed for ever! When only in his second year of life, Joey had been hit by a car, subsequently suffering back injuries which rendered him incontinent, with his back legs useless.

His owner tried hard to care for him but confined him to one room as she was unable to manage his incontinence. Finally, faced with her own progressive illness, she was forced to seek help. Serendipity prevailed and Joey came to live at BrightHaven…

In previous years, Ollie, shown here with Joe, had served as BrightHaven’s representative at large. Full of fun and rambunctious as only a dachshund can be, Ollie was then in his early twenties and only just beginning to feel a little tired out by all the fun and frolic.

Ollie was delighted to welcome his new friend and cohort, and thrilled to be able to take a back seat, rest a little more and enjoy his retirement. (The amazing and incredible Ollie lived on for four more years, finally dying in February 2008!) After his initial fears of being “different” were laid to rest, Joey quickly settled into life here.

His greatest joy came the day he got his brand new wheelchair. It took him only minutes to figure out that this strange contraption could help him walk and, in so doing, change his life dramatically. Joey’s larger-than-life personality had already become obvious by this time, but once this dog had “legs” again we quickly found that our lives were to change too!

Very quickly Joey’s wheelchair became his chariot and this dog, really a Rottweiler in his mind, took over the reins of BrightHaven. Joey does think he rules supreme, but I know better…I am the president, after all…or??? In a very short space of time Joey became our new mascot, greeter, watchdog and so much more.

Friends and volunteers were forced to earn his love and friendship, but once through Joey’s vigorous training course they were all happy to join his fan club, having discovered his bark to be much worse than his bite! Joey’s fame spread far and wide as he supervised many BrightHaven tours, represented us on TV and at local events—forever delighted to turn his best side to the camera at every tick and turn! Joey is paraplegic (but please don’t tell him that!) and cannot go to the bathroom at all on his own. You will also notice that his front right leg is somewhat twisted, and his shoulder rotated.

He also suffers other problems, most notably the neurological issues seen in the activity in his legs and back muscles mostly and the occasional seizure-like attack. With all that in mind, we employed the amazing services of Dr Jeff Levy back in mid 2005. Jeff is an astonishingly great classical veterinary homeopath, who has volunteered his services to help many of the BrightHaven animals for almost two decades. Jeff, too, was captivated by Joey’s amazing spirit, and volunteered to take him on in the hopes that he could help Joey become healthier. But even he did not reckon with this boy’s huge will and spirit, and very soon Joey’s whole neurological system seemed to have awakened from sleep; we saw his legs “walking” again and his muscles twitching and spasming with new life. Joey was also to be observed urinating on his own sometimes!

The last six years have brought great, as well as not so great, days to dear Joey. Back in 2008 he experienced his first (of many) attacks of meningitis. With a fever of over 106 sustained for three days, we feared the worst. Jeff stood by at all hours and calmly prescribed. We waited by Joey’s bedside in anguish. Many told us he could not endure and there was nothing left to do but love and pray for him. Joe won through and since that awful day has endured several more periods of awful fevers that seem to have been sent to take his precious life away. His occasional seizure seems nothing by comparison! These days Joe seems to have life well figured out and spends his mornings dictating life as usual and befitting of his station, and then retires to the couch for a long afternoon rest, during which I am sure he and Bailey (on another couch) exchange stories of their long distant four-legged days!

Although Joey has become well known for his amazing courage and endurance he is perhaps more famous for the story of the great loves of his life and those he has helped, in the great BrightHaven tradition of loving one another above all, and most especially as the other prepares for transition from life. The BrightHaven photograph album is filled with precious memories, a very few of which can be shared here, but all of which show the special relationship he creates with each and every fellow being. Talking of fellow beings, no story about Joey would be complete without a mention of his two great lady-loves and biggest fans—Rose and June.

Meet Rose, his very special girfriend who comes every Monday to see her love! Rose has been a volunteer at BrightHaven for many years and Joey is the man of her dreams. They spend many happy hours walking, playing, and doing chores together before Joey crashes on the couch for a well deserved afternoon nap! Joey has Rose fooled into thinking she is his only dream girl, but guess what?—When Wednesday and Saturday come around, then along comes June – easy prey for this larger than life dog who is ready for yet another walk! Of course he tells June he has been bored and lonely for days without her…!! Joey’s girlfriends are too numerous to mention, for fear of forgetting someone, but you all know who you are!! Friends and volunteers love to walk this exuberant boy who is larger than life and loves to be the boss. He has them all trained so well and who could resist the sight of his happy grin as he races through the grass, completely unaware that he is anything other than normal.

Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow. –Mahatma Gandhi

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